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The Independent Critic

Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Cole Hauser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Patrick Stewart
John Moore
Roderick Thorp, Skip Woods
Rated R
97 Mins.
20th Century Fox
The Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet HD Copy) will feature: Both the Theatrical and Extended versions of the film; 7 Deleted Scenes; "Making it Hard to Die" Featurette; Anatomy of a Car Chase; Two of a Kind; Back in Action; The New Face of Evil; Pre-vis; VFX Sequences; Stills - Gallery, Storyboards, Concept Art; Trailers; Commentary w/Director/1st Assistant Director; Maximum McClane; Digital Copy

 "A Good Day to Die Hard" Equals "Paycheck" Film for Willis 
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A Good Day to Die Hard is the kind of film where once it's over you find yourself rushing online to look up the director's filmography, not so you can rush out and watch his other works but so you can make sure you never do so again.

To call A Good Day to Die Hard the weakest film in the series feels inadequate. A Good Day to Die Hard is a weak action film even by your usual modest action film standards. A Good Day to Die Hard is so weak that it makes me want to sit through Last Man Standing and The Expendables 2 just so I can wash off the stench.

I would say this film sucks but, let's be honest, to most guys sucking is a good thing and my worst experience with it has been infinitely more enjoyable than this film.

It's hard to believe that the Die Hard series has been around for 25 years, but after watching this film it's hard to believe that the 1988 original came pretty close to defining exactly how to make a really good action flick. There's virtually no semblance of that original film in this one, with even what's left of John McClane coming off as arrogant rather than snarky, borderline sociopathic rather than possessing of bravado.

This time around, McClane heads off to Moscow to pull his son (Jai Courtney) out of a Russian prison. Of course, it's not going to be quite that simple or the film would have been over in 15 minutes (That would have been a good thing). Instead, McClane stumbles into a big ole' upper level Russian plot involving the premier (Sergey Kolesnikov) wanting to off a millionaire dissident (Sebastian Koch) with some incriminating information.

What follows?

Chase. Boom. Chase. Boom. Chase. Boom. Chase. Boom.

Boom. Chase. Boom. Chase. Boom. Chase. Boom Chase.

Director John Moore (Max Payne) strips the film of everything we've loved about the series, including most of McClane's grizzled personality. There's a point not too far into the film when Willis seems to catch on that this one's not going well and he just plain stops trying. It feels like Michael Caine in virtually every film where Michael Caine hasn't won an Oscar.

Or maybe I should compare it to Nicolas Cage?

Nah, it's not that bad.

A Good Day to Die Hard may be the most appropriately named film of the year, because this isn't just a film that dies hard but it may very well kill off a lucrative series. It doesn't help that Willis doesn't really have anyone else in the film to carry any weight, with Jai Courtney looking like he stepped out of being an understudy to Josh Duhamel in Safe Haven rather than looking like he has any business being in an action flick.

Ouch. That hurts.

Moore seemingly subscribes to the "more is better" school of directing, because A Good Day to Die Hard is filled with more action, louder action and more chaos than one can possibly imagine. It's just a shame that very little of it makes any sense of it all, partly because of the ludicrous script from Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp and partly because a good majority of the action simply doesn't go anywhere.

At its worst, the Die Hard series has at least managed to be entertaining. While John McTiernan's personal life may have been a complete mess, the guy could direct an action film and it's almost painfully sad to see what John Moore has turned this series into. While it's easy to think that this film could very well kill off the series, there's actually another Die Hard in the works and one can only hope that Willis gets a better vehicle so that he can ride off into the Hollywood action film sunset with at least a little bit of glory and we can have some fond memories.

For now, I have to go take another shower.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic